McCormick predicts this flavor will dominate menus in 2024 | CNN Business


Tamarind may sound (and taste) unfamiliar to many, but an influential company known for its spices and seasonings predicts it will have a breakthrough year.

McCormick and company, the best-selling condiment and spice maker, has named tamarind its “Flavor of the Year 2024.” The report, published annually since 2000, identifies trending spices and seasonings that are about to appear on restaurant menus or in cookbooks and perhaps become the new pumpkin spice.

Tamarind comes from a tree that commonly grows in Africa, Mexico, Asia, and India, and produces pods that contain a tart, sweet flavor that can be added to various foods, such as potato chips, ice cream, and even coffee.

McCormick deploys a team of approximately 50 people, including chefs and food technologists, around the world to search for trending flavors, with executive chef Hadar Cohen Aviram in charge of selecting the flavor of the year.

Aviram told CNN that tamarind was chosen because its flavor profile “highlights everything we saw this year,” and highlighted three trends he has identified, such as the growth of acidic and acidic foods; dishes McCormick calls "carefully borrowed," which are modernized versions of regional foods, and "new-stalgic" foods that are exaggerated versions of childhood favorites (think: mozzarella sticks with caviar).

"All those trends that we saw this year, we see them projected through this flavor," he said.

Choosing the tamarind was a nine-month process by McCormick's team, which visits several countries from South Africa to China and even Poland, examining restaurant menus, interviewing experts and using data "to see what's going on in these countries." places," Aviram said.

“We're not inventing anything new,” he added, noting that tamarind has been around for thousands of years and has been a popular ingredient for a time on menus in Asia and Mexico.

“We are analyzing trends, that is the key, but knowing when is the right time and when the chef begins to present that [flavor]… that's when we know it's coming,” he said, adding that the report is a “starting point” for new flavors coming to U.S. menus in the coming months.

McCormick has partnered with Black Tap Craft Burgers, a restaurant with 7 locations in the US and known for its over-the-top meals, to feature tamarind in shakes, burgers, and fries starting February 1, 2024 for a limited time.

Home chefs can also experiment with tamarind with McCormick sell a Mexican-influenced condiment online That includes the flavor, which Avriam calls a “really nice combination” that is a tasty addition to the meal.

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